A federal judge rejected Beyoncé’s request for a permanent injunction to stop a company selling shirts, tank tops, hoodies and other items bearing the name ‘Feyoncé.’
The pop superstar complained in a lawsuit brought in April 2016 that Feyonce Inc’s sale of knockoffs infringed her trademark rights and would confuse consumers.
‘A rational jury might or might not conclude that the pun here is sufficient to dispel any confusion among the purchasing public,’ she wrote.
Nathan said that by replacing the ‘B’ in Beyoncé with an ‘F,’ the defendants created a mark that sounds like ‘fiancé,’ their core customer, in a ‘play on words’ that could dispel confusion.
One of the Feyoncé items in dispute was a mug with the phrase ‘he put a ring on it,’ which Beyoncé said was intended to recall the lyrics of her song ‘Single Ladies.’
Consumers, that court found, might get the point after an initial look.
‘Many purchasers of Feyoncé products are, in fact, engaged, just as many Mike product purchasers were named Mike,’ Nathan wrote.
‘Viewed in the light most favorable to defendants, this evidence suggests that consumers are understanding the pun, rather than confusing the brands.’
Nathan ordered both sides to discuss a possible settlement and trial dates, and scheduled a Nov. 1 status conference. Her decision is dated Sept. 30.